If you want to help WordPress and your website progress, it’s important to keep up to date. And nowadays everyone who has a website should think about its accessibility.
When you have to design a website you have to take into account the necessary techniques and skills and try everything. The techniques required for a website are many, as well as the skills.
But testing is what makes the difference. A website without usability analysis is nothing. And when we talk about usability we must also be talking about accessibility, because we are not going to leave 17% of the population without being able to access your website in reasonable conditions, right?
So if you have a website you have to think about its accessibility.
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But what is it to make a website accessible?
Basically we could say that it is making your website visible and easily navigable for users, but for everyone.
And I say this because the capacity or disability of a person should not determine the accessibility of your website.
Imagine, for example, a blind person browsing your website and easily accessing your content.
Accessibility means giving all users equal opportunities to browse your website regardless of their abilities or technological limitations.
Having said that, let’s look at some aspects to take into account to improve the accessibility of your website.
How to improve accessibility
- Structure and consistent design – There are lots of themes you can use in your website but it is important that your design has a stable and consistent structure to improve the accessibility of your website. If you have a sidebar, navigation menus, they should be consistent on each page of your website…
- Alt text on all images – Alt text is simply an alternative to an image, as a small description that explains what is seen in the image. For example, if you put a picture of a black dog, your alt text should say something like “my black dog”. This way, users who use screen readers because of vision problems will be able to fully understand all the elements on your page by reading this alt text.
- Use well readable fonts – Don’t use fonts that are hard to read, too thin, with designs that make them difficult to read, or at sizes that are too small.
- Use headings correctly on all pages – Headings, H’s, give your website a semantic structure. Every web page normally has a main title, which defines it, but the most important thing for its accessible reading is that the headings are used correctly, and the rules to follow are simple:
- Use only one H1 on each page.
- The content of the H1 is by default the title of the page.
- Use the headings in sequence from H1 to H6.
- Do not skip headings. If you are going to include a sub-section within an H2 header don’t use an H4, use H3.
- HTML5 allows you to use more headings than H1.
- Make sense of the linked content – Imagine a page with “click here”, “keep reading”, or similar links on a help page, isn’t it very understandable? You’ll make your site less accessible. Get used to the fact that when you link to another page the linked texts are understandable, that they have a meaning in themselves.
- Improve and extend the approach to three levels – In web design there is sometimes a mention of the three-level approach, which separates the content, the style and the behaviour of the page. This is a good practice that improves the accessibility of the web.
- Test your website by all possible methods – To find out if your website is really accessible you should visit it by all possible methods and technologies, but above all get people with different abilities and disabilities to visit it. For example, navigate only from the keyboard, without a mouse. Check the CSS, the contrast levels, try it in different browsers. Check the color schemes and how different people see them.
The last step
When we talk about accessibility in WordPress, we’re talking mainly about themes. So, for starters, find a theme that does it better than the rest, so you’ll have to make fewer modifications on your own.
It is your responsibility as the owner of your website to make your site accessible to everyone.
Read this post in Spanish: Cómo mejorar la accesibilidad de tu sitio WordPress